waking up to the warmth of the sun on her skin feels foreign, it takes her a moment to fully process where she is. once she does, joohyun blinks lazily as she glances to her right where seungwan is still soundly asleep. waking up to her soulmate curled around her is nice , she could really get used to this.
the bruises she left on seungwan’s skin the night before look awful against her pale skin. she could only hope that her girlfriend has something to hide the grotesque purple marks because joohyun didn’t quite think of the consequences when she’d left them.
sighing quietly, she turns to nuzzle against the nape of seungwan’s neck, taking a large whiff of her scent. her subtle shifting causes the younger girl to stir and eventually awaken.
joohyun greets her with a gentle hum, “good morning.”
with a small yawn, seungwan turns to face her with one eye open; she's awake yet on the precipice of falling back asleep. her sleepy expression is almost enough for joohyun to coax her back to sleep, but unfortunately, they probably have to return to seoul by today.
"what time is it?" a raspy voice leaves her lips.
joohyun merely shrugs in response. judging by the sun, it doesn’t feel too late. "maybe like nine?" she throws out a wild guess.
with an obscenely loud groan, catching the senior off guard. earning a gentle smack, the nerd stretches her aching limbs out before making a polite request, "can you get my phone?"
joohyun rolls her eyes, but crawls out of bed anyway. surveying the massive room, it takes a moment to find seungwan's phone next to hers on the desk. grabbing it, the older girl uses the chance to check the time before handing it over to seungwan. 9:10 — plenty of time to cuddle with seungwan and get breakfast before she heads home to gather up her things.
"what time do you have to go?" joohyun inquiries. she settles back into bed, resting against the headboard and seungwan takes the initiative to snuggle against her.
"checkout's at noon, so probably around then." seungwan murmurs as she flicks through her messages, "what about you?"
joohyun shrugs, "unlike you, i don't have classes anymore." she mocks.
the nerd whines at the thought of a morning lecture tomorrow. a new school year would also mean that she's not going to be able to spend as much time as she liked with joohyun. bummer, but they'll find a way to make things work, probably.
“so are you staying in daegu for a few more days?" seungwan chucks her phone aside and presses her face into joohyun's hip.
the older girl shakes her head, "i've had enough of my grandmother until chuseok."
"okay, well, if i leave a little later, can we spend today together then?"
with arms pulling her soulmate closer, joohyun smiles, "i don't think i want to spend another day without you."
"you're so clingy."
joohyun clicks her teeth in response as seungwan lets out a raspy laugh. slipping into a comfortable quietness, they cuddle for a little longer, the soft breathing of each other threatening to lull them back into a slumber.
"what do you want to do today?" seungwan questions.
"i'd honestly really love to stay in bed and do absolutely nothing."
"but it's a special day, isn't it?"
"it is?" joohyun blinks dumbly. she stares into the distance while she tries to recall what occasion it could possibly be. yet, nothing comes to mind.
seungwan raises an eyebrow, not quite sure if her soulmate is feigning ignorance, though it’s endearing regardless. she murmurs, "i didn't forget your birthday, you know."
forgetting seungwan's birthday was one thing, but forgetting her own as well? she is really getting old. it could be because of the tumultuous week they’ve been through and the hecticness of last night’s activities made her birthday a secondary concern. she lets out an incredulous scoff and looks down at seungwan, “i forgot my own birthday.”
“that’s okay, i’ll never forget it.” seungwan pushes herself up to leave a soft peck on her cheek, "happy birthday, joohyun."
with a contented sigh, the birthday girl grins. "thank you, seungwannie."
"your gift is back in seoul, so unfortunately all you've got is me for today." seungwan informs as she returns to snuggling next to her girlfriend.
joohyun runs a hand down seungwan’s deltoids, "that's okay, you're more than enough."
"you're unbelievably cheesy today, what happened?"
"i just missed you a lot. can you really blame me?"
“not at all,” seungwan chuckles, “i’ll indulge you for as long as you want.”
and they do just that, cuddling till the rumbling of the senior's stomach becomes too loud to ignore.
"we should get up before you starve …" seungwan makes an attempt to get up bu
joohyun doesn't even budge, "this is way too comfy to give up."
the nerd sighs as she sits up, hair sticking up with a nasty bout of bedhead and she separates herself from joohyun. feeling the sudden coolness against her skin brings back memories of the previous night and she quickly tugs the sheets to her chest.
the older girl giggles as she attempts to comb seungwan's fingers with her hand. "there's no need to be shy." joohyun coos, "you're beautiful."
even with her reassurance, it doesn't stop seungwan's cheeks from flushing with embarrassment. "c-can you grab my clothes?" she squeaks with her gaze trained on the white sheets.
joohyun obliges with a quiet snicker, "okay, only because you’re that adorable."
she moves around the room to gather up seungwan's clothes which were scattered from last night. the younger girl wastes no time in readorning her clothes despite her reddened face.
joohyun extends a hand out once she's done, "i think last night was a decent birthday gift, don't you think?" she remarks when seungwan accepts.
the nerd chokes a little before tugging them towards the bathroom to wash up wordlessly.
"oh my god, what the hell is this?"
seungwan cries out, voice echoing in the large bathroom as she stares into the equally large mirror. a big, nasty bruise, sits proudly on her neck. it's coupled with a few others that are planted on and collarbone. but none are quite as big as the one on her neck.
"sorry," joohyun smiles sheepishly, "i didn't think they'd be so bad."
panicking, she yanks the collar of her shirt down, counting the number of marks that joohyun had left on her skin. there's more on her chest, making her skin dotted with hickeys. joohyun glances over, taking in her girlfriend's panic with amusement as she continues to brush her teeth.
"i have school tomorrow!" seungwan's eyes widen in mortification, how the hell is she going to cover all of this up?
joohyun flops a hand nonchalantly before responding with a slight smirk, “i think they look good.”
“this isn’t funny,” seungwan blabbers as she leans closer to the mirror to examine the grotesque bruises, “what do i do?”
slinking an arm around her waist, joohyun offers the solution at the top of her head. “some concealer and you’re fine, don’t worry.”
“are you sure?” the nerd is on the verge of tears at this point and joohyun jumps to comfort her. she nods quickly as she runs a hand down seungwan’s back reassuringly.
“don’t worry, i’ve covered plenty before. it’ll be fine, okay?” she coos.
sighing, seungwan nods and reaches for her toothbrush. “how do you know so much anyway?” she questions curiously. up till now, they’ve yet to talk about the more intimate parts, but it seems like they should, considering the previous night. joohyun is definitely experienced when it comes to activities in the bedroom.
“i’ve had hookups before, but that was mostly in my first or second year.” the older girl explains, “i had a lot more energy and patience back then.”
seungwan hums, “should i be jealous?”
scrunching her face as she weighs the question, joohyun shrugs, “if yongsun isn’t, i doubt you would be.”
“why would yongsun-unnie be jealous?” she quirks a brow quizzically.
“because i hooked up with byulyi.”
“what?” seungwan looks at joohyun with her jaw hanging.
joohyun bobs her head casually, “they met because we were hooking up.”
finding out that your soulmate has hooked up with your best friend’s senior is — strange. seungwan assumes that they would be uncomfortable, or at least awkward but that's hardly the case.
“are you mad?”
“no, not really. honestly, i’m in shock.” seungwan blinks, "aren't you guys awkward?
“not at all, it makes for a funny story for yongsun," joohyun snickers at the fond memories, it’s been a while since it all happened and it’s a little faded if she’s being honest.
“so are you going to teach me?” seungwan nudges her with a playful smirk.
“you’re already panicking over hickeys,” joohyun quirks a doubtful brow, “are you sure?”
“i might have been falling asleep but didn’t you say when we get back to seoul?”
with a slight flush creeping up on her cheeks, joohyun continues washing up without another word. if they continued this conversation, they might just end up skipping breakfast entirely.
seungwan eventually gets over her shock and the couple begins their morning with breakfast. they attack the breakfast buffet with ravenous appetites while they adjust back into their regular dynamic, talking about anything and everything. today’s conversation happens to be about their families, or rather what they don’t seem to know about them.
“so, where do we even begin?” joohyun questions while she takes a sip of her tea.
the nerd cringes, “your grandmother is scary as hell.”
a scoff is heard before joohyun motions at her to continue, “then tell me about your dad, he seems like a nice guy.”
“i guess he is, he’s funny and he cares.” seungwan hums while biting into a crunchy piece of toast, “and he’s smart too.”
joohyun raises an eyebrow, “sounds like there’s more than just that.”
seungwan looks down at her plate and nods. there is more, but they aren’t exactly happy, funny memories like she’d like them to be. “but … he wasn’t always like this, he was hardly home when i was younger. my parents had a strained marriage at some point but they worked it out and he became a better dad.”
“oh … sorry ...” joohyun murmurs, mildly regretting probing when she shouldn’t have.
“don’t be, it’s been a while and things are fine now,” the nerd flops a hand to extenuate the situation, “besides, isn’t telling each other about ourselves what we wanted to do anyway?”
joohyun bobs her head gingerly, “not at the extent of digging up bad memories though.”
“it’s really fine, maybe sharing the bad stuff makes it hurt less.”
“mhm … as long as you’re really okay with it.”
cracking into a light grin, seungwan continues to share a little more. "he's the reason why i wanted to pick up software development. i thought if i could help him out at work, maybe he'd come home more often."
joohyun clutches her chest dramatically, "ah there it is again! you're making my heart melt!" she exclaims with a teasing smile.
seungwan flicks the crumbs off her fingers in retort, earning a kick to her shin from joohyun.
"it worked out, okay! turns out i'm just as big of a nerd as he is!"
her girlfriend shakes her head with a large smile, "you're so sweet, you know that?"
blushing, seungwan switches the topic easily, “what about your family?”
bringing up family doesn’t always incite the most pleasant memories, especially after her mild dispute with her grandmother last night. for the most part, joohyun can’t disregard her familial bonds — family is still family at the end of the day. she hides the shift in her mood under the guise of processing her thoughts.
“we’re distant, i suppose.” joohyun pauses, “cold, even. we barely talk, my mother texts me every couple of weeks and my father doesn't even call. i only see my grandmother when i go home during seollal and chuseok.”
“is it safe to assume that yeri is the loudest person in your family?” seungwan teases.
chuckling, joohyun nods, “yeah, you can say that. she’s the only saving grace of this family.”
“what’s the deal with your grandmother last night though?” seungwan questions while she gets to work on her omelette, “you felt really off in her presence.”
joohyun glances down pensively, the person that she is and the person that she has to be under her grandmother’s eyes are two very different people. of course her soulmate who’s only seen the tender parts of her would perceive the guarded version of her as odd.
“the joohyun that i am with you is not the same as the joohyun that i have to be when i’m with her,” the older girl purses her lips, “i don’t quite know how to explain it but it’s a necessary pretence.”
a hand slides above hers and seungwan offers a reassuring squeeze, “no pressure, i don’t quite understand it either but if you gotta do it, then you gotta do it.”
joohyun humming lightly marks the end of their brief talk regarding their families, they could bring this up another time when the situation calls for it.
after experiencing mutual revelations about each other’s backgrounds, their conversation drifts to discussions for their plans for the day. while they agreed that they would spend the day together, they have no outline for their day. with the dread of a new semester starting hanging over her, it's safe to say that she definitely needs to head back before nighttime.
"so you're gonna head home first?"
"well, i don't have any clothes other than the gown from last night," joohyun points out. she's dressed from head to toe in seungwan's clothes, not that she minded but if they intend to go to any popular spots, she'd want to be in more than just a t-shirt.
seungwan nods while biting down on a croissant, "then what?"
"how about i head home after this, meet you back here when i'm done packing and you can use the time to settle our way back?" joohyun offers.
and seungwan is on the verge of agreeing when a familiar face pops up.
"you kids need a flight back to seoul?"
of course, her dad would interrupt.
joohyun snaps her head towards him and she's frozen, there’s no way she could feign innocence while she’s wearing seungwan’s clothes. does he know that they're soulmates? he has to, right? and seungwan's hickeys weren't fully covered, she's merely hiding them with her hoodie — they thought it'd been fine since they were just getting breakfast. but under the scrutiny of her future father-in-law, joohyun can't help but panic.
so she does the best that she can and that is to be irene .
"mr son." she greets with a polite smile as she extends a hand out.
the entrepreneur shakes it with a large grin as he settles next to seungwan who's eyeing him with a glare. "drop the formalities, joohyun-ssi, seungwan told me everything last night." the gentleman waves a hand in the air before proceeding to steal food from his daughter's plate.
"dad!" she hisses.
joohyun purses her lips, "you know that we're soulmates ..?"
seungwan's father bobs his head, "yeah, do you know how long i've been waiting for this?"
"i meant finding out the story behind her tattoo." the gentleman clarifies, "i'm glad she's got someone other than seulgi and sooyoung. those two could get so noisy sometimes."
seungwan is practically praying for her dad to leave but evidently, he enjoys tormenting her with his presence. and joohyun, while she feels bad for her soulmate, couldn't exactly tell her girlfriend's father to leave.
"i see …" she nods politely.
the entrepreneur ignores any and all hints and continues to get acquainted with his future daughter-in-law. "so, if you've already got my girl, why is madam bae still looking for partners for you?"
joohyun bites down on her lower lip, getting reminded of her grandmother isn't exactly pleasant.
"i haven't told her yet," joohyun explains with a tense smile, "i hope you can keep this from my grandmother for a little longer, at least until i'm ready to bring seungwan home."
the entrepreneur lets out a dramatic gasp which shocks the table but he eases it with a hearty chuckle. "yah, your soulmate has plans to bring you home, when were you going to bring her home?" he nudges his daughter with an elbow.
seungwan huffs, "i bet mom already knows, so why bother?"
"i haven't told her, honestly." the gentleman raises his hands, "and you're welcome to visit any time, joohyun-ssi, but call ahead so her mother can bake your wedding cake in advance."
joohyun's cheeks flush as she forces a nod and seungwan can only eye her apologetically. sorry about my dad , her eyes seem to scream.
"anyway, what are you studying, joohyun-ssi?"
"just joohyun is fine," she smiles, "and i’m studying psychology, but i specialise in criminal and forensic psychology."
the tall gentleman has easily readable expressions and he looked to be in awe. "that sounds impressive, joohyun. so what do you think of my daughter?"
the question catches joohyun off guard and she can't tell if he's serious or joking. luckily, seungwan has had enough and comes to her rescue.
seungwan groans, "don't you have other places to be?"
"i just wanna get to know her a little," he shrugs before turning his attention back to the older girl, "so, come on, i wanna know what you think of my daughter."
seungwan looks like she's ready to strangle her dad. "i'm right here, dad! ask her when i bring her home!"
"okay, fine," he relents with a huff, "so do you kids need a flight back? i can make the arrangements right now." the entrepreneur finally declares that it's enough of torturing his daughter today.
"nope, we'll take the train." seungwan spits quickly.
"suit yourselves," he shrugs and begins to get up, "i will see you both when seungwan brings you home, yes?"
joohyun nods politely, "we'll make plans when we return to seoul."
"great to hear!" the gentleman beams, "in the meantime, those hickeys look really nasty, might wanna consider covering them up but if you don't want to–"
"dad! i will text you later!" seungwan begins to shoo him away, bringing their table back to silence.
joohyun doesn't quite know how she should react — seungwan's father is so laid back, unlike hers who would be overly strict if she compared them. one thing’s for sure, if she came home with a neck full of hickeys, she’d probably be kicked out. but the embarrassment plastered on seungwan’s face seem to make it less serious.
"sorry …" seungwan mutters while burying her face in her hands.
the older girl bursts out laughing and shakes her head, "i take it that he approves of me?”
removing her hands, the nerd’s shoulders rise a little. she can’t believe that her father thought it was appropriate to casually into their conversation and even had the audacity to interrogate joohyun in her presence.
“i mean, i guess?” seungwan murmurs, “he told me i could settle for seulgi if i never meet my soulmate, so i think he doesn’t have any expectations.”
joohyun hums with amusement, “so when are you going to bring me home, son seungwan?"
"are you serious?" she chokes.
"mhm, if i'm going to bring you home during chuseok, i should be introduced to your family too, right?"
"let’s talk about it when it’s closer to chuseok, yeah?”
they part ways after breakfast, with joohyun returning home and seungwan settling all the logistics. they’d figure out what to do when joohyun comes back, but for now, the graduate has other things to worry about — like explaining to her family why she didn’t return any of their calls, nor come home for the night.
stepping into the foyer, joohyun hears nothing but silence, so maybe she could get away with sneaking back into her room. she tiptoes across the marbled floor and tries her best to make it to the stairs when the matriarch appears in her peripheral vision.
“where were you?” her sharp voice cuts through the silence while she eyes joohyun sternly.
tensing up, joohyun turns around, plastering a stoic expression onto her face, “i was with seungwan.”
a nod is the only response joohyun offers; the lesser said, the better it is. she tries to walk away only to be stopped with another question.
“what were you doing with her? and you didn’t come home?” the aged woman demands.
today isn’t the day where she wants to argue with her grandmother but there’s still some underlying tension from their dispute last night. joohyun had been bent on saving it for the next time she returns, but the phantom traces of seungwan lingers against her skin, providing an extra and probably much-needed push.
scoffing, joohyun mutters, “what else could i be doing with someone in a hotel room?”
her seething grandmother storms over to her and perhaps for the first time ever, lays a hard slap across her cheek. it takes joohyun a moment to register what has just happened — stunned, she merely gapes. the searing pain spreads around her cheek, drawing her back to reality. this is the first time she’s dared to be this insolent, and also the first time she’s been hit.
though she knows she deserves it, the shock leaves her numb and all she can hear is white noise. she averts her gaze to the ground and draws a shaky breath to compose herself.
“you’re grown up, but don’t forget your place.” the matriarch spits harshly, “i am still your elder.”
eyes stinging with tears, joohyun mutters through gritted teeth, “you demand my respect yet you refuse to give me any.”
“pray tell, when have i disrespected you?” the aged woman folds her arms across her chest.
“have you ever considered that i am a person with dreams and i’m more than capable of making my own choices?” the graduate glares her elderly grandmother in the eye, “or am i just an asset to be traded off for a good deal?”
the matriarch pulls her lips into a tight-lipped smile, “everyone in this family is capable of making their own choices, but you’re so selfish that you’ve never considered putting the needs of the family over yours.”
selfish. the word stings. joohyun bites the inside of her cheek with a wry scoff, “for ’s sake, this family owns a multi-million dollar company, how much more money could you possibly need?”
“it’s not just about the money, this is a family business. it is our legacy that you refuse to be a part of.” her grandmother’s voice is filled with disappointment, but with her cheeks still throbbing with pain, joohyun could care less.
she’s gotten so much braver in standing up to the matriarch since she was a teenager, call it impudence but joohyun refuses to be treated like an asset any longer. this is her life, her future with seungwan also hangs on how much she’s willing to stand up for herself.
clenching a fist, joohyun begins to walk away, “a legacy i have no interest in. you should take a look at your scheming son-in-laws, perhaps they would be more interested.” she hisses with the intention to hurt.
“you were never this disobedient,” the aged woman sneers, “i should’ve never let you go to seoul.”
joohyun shakes her head, “this is one thing i can thank you for because it helped me to learn how to think for myself.”
“i placed all my hopes on you and this is how you’re going to let me down?”
“no, you don’t get to do this.” joohyun hisses sharply, “ you placed your expectations on me and i couldn’t match up. i’ve spent my youth trying to live in this box you so desperately try to put me into, but i’ve had enough. this is my life, i make my own choices.”
“you’re a disgrace to this family.”
disgrace . it feels like a stab to her chest, leaving another twinge of pain on top of the ache that she’s already trying to suppress. she’s said enough to ruin their relationship for the rest of their lives. joohyun has no intention of apologizing and with how proud her grandmother is, she doubts that they’ll ever return to how they used to be. she’s lucky that she hasn’t been kicked out yet and she’d rather not give the elderly woman a chance to develop that thought.
“it’s nice seeing you again, halmoni,” she declares as she starts to make her way up the steps, “i will be heading back now.”
the matriarch booms loudly, “you don’t get to walk away from this, joohyun!”
“i will still fulfill our agreement,” joohyun declares with a tightened jaw, “the next time i return it will be with someone of my choosing.”
she ignores her grandmother’s subsequent words when she trudges back to her room, hurtful words followed with how she better not show her face again falls on deaf ears. by the time the next family gathering rolls around, their anger would’ve dissipated and joohyun would’ve locked all negative emotions away.
that next time will be with seungwan by her side, being introduced to her family as her soulmate. and nothing with her seungwannie could be a bad thing.
though, that’s a problem for future joohyun. present joohyun knows what she wants now; nobody, not even her grandmother, is going to stand in her way — her sole goal for today is to spend her birthday with seungwan. and that’s exactly what she’s going to do.
joohyun takes some time to doll up, making sure that her makeup hides all trace of the redness of her cheek. the last thing she wants is seungwan finding out about this, worrying her girlfriend so soon after they patched up doesn’t bode well in her head. she gathers up her things and doesn’t even bid her family a goodbye when she steps out of the door with her luggage in hand. her grandmother would be giving her the stink eye the next time she returns but that’s the least of her worries now.
she meets up with her girlfriend back at the hotel and being greeted with a radiant smile makes it easy for her to push her woes aside. they spare a moment to think of a place for a date and joohyun has a perfect place in mind — though she ponders if it’s due to how she’s just fought with her grandmother. they head to one of the many spring festivals taking place at this time of year.
when she was much younger, her grandmother would often bring her to these yearly festivals. the routine stopped as she grew up, she wasn’t sure why, but she vaguely remembers the matriarch being busy one of those years and then they stopped going entirely.
with her hand securely intertwined with seungwan’s, stepping into the festival grounds brought about a new kind of warmth. while the nostalgia and heartache lingers, joohyun is ready to make new memories with her tiny, adorable soulmate .
there’s a bit of everything, ranging from food stalls to game stalls and performances. the cooling weather coupled with cherry blossoms gently fluttering in the wind makes for a beautiful day to spend outdoors. joohyun tugs seungwan along, reminiscing and introducing the little things that brought her so much joy as a child.
there’s no need to reminisce this as a memory , seungwan eventually declares when she yanks joohyun towards the row of games she’d been eyeing. they blow some money on games, though neither of them are good at any of them. unfortunately, seungwan’s skills in video games does not translate into the real world very well and joohyun’s competitiveness could only get her so far.
but that’s fine, they’ve had their fun. they proceed to visit the long row of snack stalls, indulging in the variety of fried food and overly sweetened desserts. joohyun stuffs her girlfriend with some daegu specialties, or rather with anything that she thinks smells mouthwatering and seungwan merely smiles with protruding cheeks. it’s joohyun’s birthday after all, if she’s had a hard time saying no before, how could she say no now?
ambling along the paths, they take some pictures under the large pink trees. it starts with joohyun modelling and seungwan crouching down on the floor to get the perfect angle for her girlfriend. then it’s followed by a picture together with seungwan’s arms s around her side, taken by wandering passerbys. and eventually, seungwan taking a selfie with joohyun’s lips pressed to her cheeks. although joohyun reassures that these pictures are going to stay in her personal album for real this time, seungwan takes her phone out of her hands and taps on the instagram app without batting an eyelid.
“what are you doing?” joohyun tiptoes to catch a glimpse of what seungwan is trying to do. but the younger girl is much quicker, she has already selected their latest picture and taps the post button as her soulmate tries to snatch her phone back.
renebaebae pee pee poo poo 💩
10 seconds ago
“yah! son seungwan!” joohyun shouts when seungwan hands her phone back with a cheeky smile.
the damage had been done, her everso cryptic and cold persona is ruined with seungwan’s exceptionally questionable caption. comments have started to appear and it’s too late to delete it now.
yongsun ok who hacked you
yerimiese LOL!!!! what the hell!!! did you do this @todayis_wannie
joohyun tucks her phone away with a sigh, “why? i thought you didn’t like it.”
“i told you i’m going to try my best.” seungwan hums nonchalantly while slipping her hand into joohyun’s, “and if all your followers are going to find out about us, let it be from my own doing.”
joohyun’s heart swells at her words, her soulmate is still awkward and shy, but hell, she’s really doing it for her. she can’t even begin to express just how much she loves her. biting the inside of her cheek, she starts walking.
“can you pick a better caption next time?” is the only thing she murmurs.
“poo poo pee pee?”
a playful shove doesn’t hide the large grin on her cheeks. like magnets, seungwan returns to joohyun’s side with a matching smile. loving, goofy, adorable — while joohyun had a semblance of what she’d like her soulmate to be, seungwan is giving her everything and more. she isn’t sure what kind of person she needs to be for seungwan just yet, but she’s certain that she’ll find out with time.
they find a spot in the grass once their legs begin to tire, picking a shady spot under a large tree. there are plenty of people lounging around as well, it’s a lovely place to fall even more in love with your significant other.
joohyun rests her head across seungwan’s lap while the latter leans against the bark of the tree, taking in the cirrus clouds with a half-lidded gaze. cherry blossoms glide over them, cascading all around with a select few getting carried away by the wind. joohyun’s hair tenderly, seungwan feels content as they bask in the beauty that mother nature has to offer.
this is something they both needed after the past week — the calm and serenity relinquishes the need for any words.
maybe this is what love is supposed to be like. to be able to do the most mundane things and still want to etch it into your memory like a prized possession. to go through literal hell and be okay with it just because you’ve got your soulmate by your side. to try to be the best version of yourself so that you can give them the love they deserve. the right love is nice, and it might just be what they have.
falling in love had felt so daunting, perhaps due to how pristine they wanted to keep their relationship. but now that they’ve gone through an ugly fight and made up, it truly feels like it’ll be okay if they fight again. at the end of the day, they know that even if they bring the apocalypse onto their relationship, they’ll still find their way back to each other.
and it’s in this tranquility, in this aura of love that seungwan seems to radiate, does joohyun finally find the right words.
“you make my world a better place, son seungwan.”
the sudden interruption catches seungwan off guard and she shifts to look down at joohyun. deeming that she hasn’t misheard anything, seungwan responds with a gentle hum, “and you’ve made me a braver person, bae joohyun.”
an air of tranquility washes over them once again, they know what they mean to each other. this janky little relationship is proof of their growth, their commitment and their love to each other. and just because they’re a work in progress doesn’t mean that it’s worth less — they know for a fact that there’s nobody else they’d rather love.
WHAT IS THIS?
the photo that sooyoung had sent is a screenshot of joohyun’s latest post, it’s the first and only post that revealed her full face, so it calls for some sort of explanation.
YEAH WHAT IS THIS @seungwan
a selfie? 🤭
don’t 🤭 me
what’s there to explain??
it’s a selfie with joohyun, park sooyoung 🙄
yeah but WHY is it posted
your entire face is in it
do i need to yell at her again?
i posted it myself
are you 100% okay with all her followers seeing it?
they’ve already left me hate before they’ve even seen my face
what’s the next worst thing that could happen?
what is this
baby are you seeing this
i am @seulgi's demon
i think our wannie is stepping out of her bubble 😭😭😭
i think it’s the haircut
you feelin confident now, unnie?
yeah, kinda i guess
we can talk more when i get back
the train back to seoul is surprisingly empty, it seems like not many people fancy travelling during dinner time. the two gnomes had been munching on festival foods for the whole day so skipping dinner isn't an issue. an evening train ride is perfect, they wouldn't reach seoul too late and seungwan would have enough sleep for her morning class.
joohyun has been a lot quieter since they left the festival grounds, seungwan doesn't quite know what it is, but it feels like something is bugging her. she tries to leave it for a while, afterall, it’s not everyday she gets to have a long train ride whilst the sun is setting in the distance. but it’s hard to enjoy the tranquility when your girlfriend is a brooding mess next to you.
"are you okay?" the younger girl finally works up the courage to ask after an extended silence.
joohyun had been mindlessly gazing out the window but her attention turned to seungwan with relative ease. with a slight smile, she nods.
"yeah, just thinking." she deflects.
seungwan squeezes their intertwined hands and nods, "if you want to talk, i'm all ears."
while joohyun has tried to let down her walls with seungwan, it’s still a challenge to fully share issues regarding her family. it’s a topic that hits way too close to home. she’s thought a lot about it ever since she came to seoul, but deciding that it’s not worth sharing makes it easier to bottle it up. granted, it comes up every time she returns home, but it’s also one of the things she’s gotten used to brushing aside.
with seungwan thumbing circular patterns on her skin mindlessly, there’s no pressure to open up at all. yet the simple action, coupled with an unsaid reassurance of a you can rely on me , seems to be coaxing joohyun out of her habit.
"i had an argument with my grandmother last night, just before our whole bathroom escapade." joohyun starts with a heavy sigh, "and i guess things got even worse since i didn't go home last night."
“we fought when i went home and it’s the most explosive fight we’ve had.” a pang of pain is felt at the memory of her grandmother hitting her, though joohyun tries to disregard its existence like she does with all emotions related to her family.
seungwan eyes her with a softened gaze, “why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“i didn’t want to ruin our day,” the senior confesses with a shaky breath, “we just patched up and i don’t want to ruin anything.”
the nerd leans to leave a soft kiss on joohyun’s soft cheek, reassuring her tenderly, “sharing your feelings, good or bad, will never ruin anything, okay?”
cracking into a slight smile at her action, joohyun takes it as encouragement to continue sharing. these feelings have been bottled up for the longest time now, she’s had all the words perched at the tip of her tongue, waiting for the right person to share them with. and now that person is currently waiting patiently, gaze trained on her like she’s the most beautiful being to grace the earth. it feels great to be loved.
"she has her expectations of what i should be and she makes me out to be whatever she wants me to be.” joohyun starts with a mumble, voice increasing as her frustration resurfaces, “but that isn't me, i don't want to be the perfect granddaughter. i just want to be myself."
"that's valid," seungwan reaffirms gently, "being honest to yourself is always much better."
"except that she doesn't think that way, she called me a disgrace to the family."
the harshness of the word causes seungwan to widen her eyes in surprise, she’d never expect that the matriarch she met last night would be capable of spewing such words to her beloved granddaughter. no response seems to be appropriate so she bites down on her lower lip and waits for joohyun to continue.
the older girl huffs, all the things that have been on her chest for years is finally coming to light. she continues to vent, “she’s going off about how our business is a legacy and how i’m selfish for not wanting to be a part of it. i just don’t understand, i don’t need to be a part of it. it’s thriving without me and hell, she has a long list of heirs, which includes my parents, who are more than capable of taking over the company.”
"maybe it's how she tries to show her love." seungwan muses, "think of the business succeeding being the fruits of her labour and maybe she wants to share it. it’s easy to see that you’re someone precious to her."
joohyun considers the alternate angle with pursed lips, "is it that hard to say she loves me?"
"we know older folks are allergic to the word love ." seungwan jokes.
hearing a snicker escape her soulmate's lips makes the atmosphere less tense. expelling a quiet sigh, joohyun mutters, "i just wished she would try to see me for who i am. every time i try to be myself, it's like i'm afraid of her disapproval."
"what shifted today?"
"you." the words slip off her tongue like it’s the most natural thing.
seungwan’s breathing hitches, "m-me?"
joohyun separates from her girlfriend momentarily so she could hook an arm with hers. she relinks their fingers and presses her cheek against seungwan’s shoulder and admits a gentle truth, "having you around makes me feel like being myself is okay. i guess the mask slipped today and i didn’t feel like faking it anymore.”
"but … is it a good thing? what happens now?"
as far as seungwan knows, it seems that she’s the catalyst that caused joohyun and the matriarch to fall apart. though she’s trying to be happy over the fact that joohyun is being honest to herself, falling out with family can’t exactly be considered a good thing.
"in the long run, probably. this was bound to happen at some point either way, so better now than later." joohyun's shoulders rise briefly, "we'll find out during chuseok."
the words make seungwan's heart skip a beat — out of fear rather than excitement. she bites down on her lower lip, "are you really going to introduce me to your entire family?"
"i just have to bring you home before the next seollal so i don't get married off to a random stranger. and don't you want to meet yeri?" joohyun teases with a nudge.
seungwan dreads the thought of meeting her bratty archer, "she's going to tease us all the way!" the nerd groans.
"considering how she played a hand in almost ruining our relationship, i don't think she has any rights.” joohyun mutters bitterly.
chuckling, seungwan plants a soft kiss on the crown of her soulmate’s head. drawing a calming breath, she mumbles, “to be honest, i think the fight brought us closer."
"really?” joohyun retorts skeptically, “because that’s singlehandedly the worst thing i’ve gone through."
"me too, but it's a necessary evil, joohyun-ah."
a necessary evil that brought them where they are now; snuggled up to each other on a train ride back home sharing nothing but their innermost feelings. seungwan continues to trace mindless patterns on joohyun’s skin while the lapse into another comfortable silence. it’s always the trivial things that make joohyun fall in love; quiet, hazy moments where time seem to pass them by. somehow, they seem to reflect seungwan's tenderness in all its glory.
"can i be honest for a moment?" joohyun’s voice interrupts the stillness.
humming, seungwan obliges, "of course."
drawing a deep breath, joohyun squeezes her girlfriend's hand for a boost of courage before she speaks. “i think i feel too much for you, and i don’t know if it’s a bad thing."
ticking an eyebrow curiously, seungwan shifts to give joohyun her full attention, urging her to continue with a light nod.
joohyun does so with an anxious swallow. these feelings have been locked tightly in her chest because sharing them would mean exposing a much more personal side that would be dubbed as whipped by yongsun. and revealing them to seungwan has always felt like it’d be too overwhelming for their current relationship — until now, that is.
"the thought that anything remotely bad could happen to you scares the out of me and i just want to keep you in a world where no one can hurt you. but that’s not how the world works, it’s a ty ing place and you’re going to get hurt." the words leave her lips in a teary-eyed mumble.
"i feel the same," seungwan adds, "but however terrifying that may be, knowing that i’ll be with you every step of the way from now on is also relieving in some ways.”
the reassurance from seungwan crashes over her and she wipes away her stray tears with a sniffle. oh, how vulnerable she’s allowed herself to become upon meeting the love of her life.
“i guess it is." joohyun mumbles, "everything in my life has been chosen for me and you’re the only thing that doesn’t feel like a ing nightmare. i don’t want to lose you.”
reaching over, the nerd pats her snivelling girlfriend gently. "you won't. i'll make sure of that myself."
“thank you,” joohyun heaves a sigh, “you’re being way too patient and i don’t know if i deserve all of this.”
clicking her teeth, seungwan smacks her though it’s merely a glorified tap, “stop it, silly. you do. you spoke the word on my wrist for a reason."
"and what might that reason be?"
seungwan doesn't respond, instead she leans in and leaves a gentle peck on joohyun's lips.
" i was made to love you, and you, to love me . granted, it's a little messy and we haven't quite figured out how. but to me, you're something good that i want to keep by my side forever."
is this what love is? joohyun wonders while she tries to stifle the large grin on her cheeks. if it isn’t, what could possibly top this warm fuzzy feeling settling in the depths of her chest? joohyun fights back the urge to retort with some witty remark that would kill this intimacy.
love , joohyun decides, comes in many forms. and one of them happened to appear at her door on one random night, with the guise of a gawky nerd who makes the butterflies in her stomach feel like a raging hurricane.
"and you’re this little ball of goodness i never want to lose." using her hands, she traces seungwan’s jaw with a feathered touch before guiding their lips to meet in a deep kiss.
"i love you, son seungwan.”